Friday, April 24, 2009

More bills passed on House and Senate floor; Bonding is closer

Yesterday at the Capitol

Lawmakers give approval to omnibus appropriation bills
The House and Senate spent the entire day in floor session taking up multiple omnibus appropriation bills. The House passed the K-12 Education Finance bill, the State Government Finance bill, and the Early Childhood Finance bill. The Senate passed the Environment bill and the Transportation bill. Conference committees for all the omnibus finance bills will be formed to start working through the differences between the Senate and House.

The House passed the K-12 education omnibus finance bill by a vote of 85-48. HF 2 holds education spending steady by containing no new education mandates, cutting outdated mandates and promoting shared services among districts as cost-saving measures. The bill uses $1.8 billion in accounting shifts and $275 million in one-time federal stimulus funds to offset spending cuts. Policy measures include charter school reforms and broader and more comprehensive ways to assess student performance and measure schools’ accountability.

Bonding bill conferees closer to agreement
The Capital Investment conference committee met yesterday evening. The House held the gavel and presented their proposal. The House came up $10 million in HEAPR for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, and is now at $40 million. The Senate is at $45 million in HEAPR for the system. All five vetoed projects are still in the House proposal. There was discussion that another conference committee could be called today. Stay tuned.

At the Capitol:
Legislative schedules are available for the House and Senate.

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